Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016

From Mom:

Hi, Honey.
How's my missionary?

I just got back from a run. I'm trying to beat my own record of running 5 km in 35 minutes. I've only beat it twice; once two weeks ago and..... TODAY! I did it in 33 minutes and 53 seconds. My new record. Of course, my head feels like it's going to pop off my shoulders. My face is purpley red and I'm a little shakey, but I FEEL FANTASTIC! I even had sweat trickle down my back and into my butt crack; a slightly odd sensation but one that I worked hard for. Hahaha.

Isn't that just the way it is?

Accomplishing anything worthwhile is just plain hard work, but we feel so good after (as well as a few unexpected and odd sensations). And do you know when I always want to give up? Really close to the end. Like, at the 4 1/2 km mark.

Learning and living the Gospel is a lot like that. Studying, pondering, asking, receiving revelation can be just plain hard work. It takes time and effort but the rewards are beyond rewarding. I've been thinking lately about the reason why people walk away from the Church and I was struck with the realization that it's just easier for them than the hard work it takes to understanding the Gospel. They haven't felt the rewards, the transcendence of the Spirit, the peace of the Atonement, the purpose of The Plan of Salvation. Or, if they have felt it, they've forgotten.

I, for one, love the Sabbath and the weekly reminder it gives me to stay on the path, to keep running the race, to live true to my covenants. I hope I never forget or treat the Gospel lightly. I love it.

I was reading Romans 8 yesterday. I think it actually might be my absolutely favourite chapter in the entire Standard Works. Add it to your study tomorrow. I love the idea that nothing can separate us from the love of God, except our own selves. Dad made the comment that God gave us the commandments for that very reason, so that it's easier to feel the love of God.

So keep in mind that when you are interacting with belligerent, rude, vulgar people, it probably means they haven't felt the transcendence of the love of God, and if they aren't feeling the love of God, then it's up to you that they do. Through whatever means the Spirit tells you to, even if it's wishing them a good day and walking away.

I'm reminded of a time I went with the missionaries to help teach a lesson. They were stood up. They were frustrated, and one of the elders grabbed a shovel and started shoveling her walks (it was winter). I complemented him and he said, "Oh, this isn't really for her, it's for me. Whenever I start getting frustrated with people, I serve and the bad feelings go away." The thing is, they responded with love and I'm positive she was affected. I don't think she ever did hear any more lessons, but it doesn't matter. Seeds, my boy, and they add up.

In other news, Dad was in California this week for a business trip, San Ramon. The girls wanted to know if he saw you. Lol!
We dug out the stump in the front yard. Sam started working at Classic. The girls and Ben did their year end music recital (I'm so happy and relieved). And I'm running.

You keep running your race, too. It's worth all the rewards. I love you dearly.

Mom

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From Josh:

Wow! I can't believe you finally tore up that tree stump! that must have been a lot of work! You guys look well and I am glad that Sam is able to find work, here in California it is super hard to find work so most people will up and start their own business which I think is pretty cool, its also the only way to live in most places in this area, where its either Get Rich or Get Out. 

These past weeks have been blasting by, I can't even believe I have been here for a month already, we are truly eternal beings because we are just not comfortable living in time. 

The saugus ward is super super nice and do a lot for the missionaries, they feed us a lot, and when they aren't feeding us they are giving us a crap ton of food, we have so much food its silly and I am really struggling with my goal of getting down to 175 lbs I am at 192 lbs right now and no matter what I am trying Its slowly getting up there... but moving on. I love the area and we are getting to know the members well, we had dinner with John Hedar yesterday and it was cool to be sitting with the guy who acted Napoleon Dynamite, he is still doing acting for a couple smaller things and has three kids. 

This area is really a golden area though we are having a tough time finding people to teach, so either we are doing something wrong or the Lord is seeking to build me up again, probably the latter. 
being in this ward I have come to recognize that no matter how true the Gospel is, most people won't come to the truth unless they are there with friends. To me that makes a lot of sense, I feel like I am at the point where I will always go to church and remain active, but thinking about it, if in a ward all I felt was hostility or even if I didn't feel included I would probably only want to go to the first hour just to take the sacrament then I would have no desire to go to any of the other hours because of the feeling of being alone, so My challenge to you all is that if you see someone you don't recognize then introduce yourselves, it is time that members and missionaries work together to bring people to the truth of the Gospel.

I was ranting to myself the other day about people, and their unwillingness to listen, we knocked into a guy who came out and we talked for a while about the church and he had some pretty sincere questions at first but the more we talked the more we realized that he was only interested in telling us his opinion and we tried to get on his level, he was arguing how God is Jesus and the Holy spirit, and they are all the same, and we told him we could see kind of his view and that we were trying to understand, but he would not do the same, he then told us that he had never read the Book of Mormon, and had no desire to do so because it was completely false, which blows my mind, this is why I was ranting because people will openly tell us they have never read the Book of Mormon, then with the same breath tell us that it is all untrue that it was just written about Joseph Smith, and the thing I will always tell them, is Ask God, he is the source of all truth and is all powerful, he holds all the knowledge of everything, and yet people are unwilling to put their trust in him, but lying in my bed last night I then turned it on myself. Do I trust in him enough? do I ask him when I have doubts about something? and I realized that I needed to repent and come to him more fully because a lot of times in moments of doubt I will not turn to him. After another five minutes of talking to the guy we told him that this was going nowhere because of his unwillingness to open his heart, and we walked away.

Missionary work is hard, there are moments that I feel like an effective missionary, hard working willing to do all things asked of me, successful in the area I am in, and then the next moment or area I am much less effective, I am not working as hard not pushing myself as hard as I could be pushing, less successful, right now we have no one that we are teaching right now, all our investigators have either dropped us or we have dropped them, so we are currently not even teaching anyone, but we are working hard to find and so far have not had much success. So I am trying to keep myself motivated and moving forward because I know that whatever happens if we trust in the Lord we will be blessed and through this all I am being changed for the better. 

It is just starting to get really hot here, yesterday it was 110 degrees and it got up to 130 in our car which is about 54 degrees Celsius and it over heated my camera and now I have no way to take pictures. So I am borrowing any pictures that others take. 

I love you all so much.

Joshua

P.S
Tell Sam that Classic is hard, but if he putts in all his effort he will get raises, they like people who can put their back into it, tithing is important as well, all your efforts will be consecrated and you will receive divine help when you put the Lord first, but if you put your all into it, you will probably hate it. 

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